The prisons and its operations are to be investigated by a top team appointed by the attorney general’s office amid a whirlwind of allegations that drugs and mobile phones are widely used by inmates.

The decision was announced just hours after a ringleader who is serving five life sentences was sentenced to another 40 years for organising two murder attempts – among other charges – despite being behind bars.

Deputy attorney general Savvas Angelides referenced the case during his announcement of the investigation, noting that mobile phones were being used by inmates to carry out crimes.

He furtherer stated that testimonies had also been made to police of mobile phone use by convicts, along with recent reports which claimed that drug use is rampant.

Angelides also noted that to date no other investigations are currently underway into the alleged illegalities at the prison, as stated by the justice minister on Tuesday.

He said that the team has three months to issue their report.

Those appointed include former supreme court judge Nikos Theodorou, former officers and members of the independent police watchdog.

The Nicosia Central Prison has been at the centre of allegations, brought to the fore by its director Anna Aristotelous who publicly alleged that a senior police officer was using a convict, in an effort to collect compromising information against her.

She did not report the case to the police but instead went to the attorney general and the justice minister, explaining that the police cannot investigate themselves.

There have been claims that alleged illegalities – drug and phone use, among others – continued long after Aristotelous took charge of the prisons.